Get Ready to Launch!
West Center is thrilled to open the application portal for their business accelerator program, StartUp Mendocino, on October 1, 2021. This no-cost program is designed to give local entrepreneurs with great ideas the opportunity to participate in an intensive training program to spark new thinking about what is possible for their business, their community, and the economy of Mendocino County. Participants will build stronger and more lasting business and community connections that will enable their businesses to become self-sufficient and resilient.
StartUp Mendocino 2022 builds upon West Centerâ€™s successful pilot program that launched in 2019, a Business Bootcamp with 5 finalists selected from more than 80 applicants. The program culminated in a Pitch Competition event that attracted 200 community attendees to celebrate the participantsâ€™ entrepreneurial spirit and vision.
For StartUp Mendocino 2022, twelve early-stage entrepreneurs will be selected to participate in a specially designed curriculum that will provide participants with the tools to make their businesses more efficient, effective, productive, and profitable. The program will also establish a peer-to-peer network to provide ongoing collaboration beyond the programâ€™s timeline.
The program is slated to begin on January 10, 2022 running until the programâ€™s event finalÃ© on Friday June 10, 2022. The 12 participants will meet in one- to two-hour virtual sessions once per week over the six-month program that will transform nascent businesses and prepare them for flight! Over the course of the 23-week program participants will be introduced to new approaches in a series of five modules that address business and financial planning, successful branding and marketing, technology and best practices for e-commerce, time management, and how to pitch your business.
Throughout the program, West Center will provide participants with experts in the field of marketing, financial planning, human resources, and goal setting. In addition they will benefit from community outreach about each of the participantsâ€™ business ventures and have access to planning departments, media contacts, and local organizations that will support their growth.
Laura Brooks, StartUp Mendocinoâ€™s Program Director, stated, â€œThis is an opportunity for developing businesses to learn from their peers, industry experts, and business leaders in a no-cost, low-stress environment. StartUp Mendocino will provide instruction on a range of essential business practices that will provide a solid foundation for an enduring business model.â€
Our sponsors feel the same way about this entrepreneurial opportunity. The John and Sandra Mayfield Economic Development Fund at The Community Foundation of Mendocino County is one of the programâ€™s generous sponsors. John Mayfield notes the importance of supporting entrepreneurial risk-taking, â€œIâ€™ve been involved in many small businesses over the years and applaud this much-needed support for the many entrepreneurs in Mendocino County. We were honored to have sponsored the initial StartUp program and thrilled to be on board for this new program.â€ And Jim Roberts, owner of The Madrones complex in Anderson Valley and a member of West Centerâ€™s Board of Directors noted, â€œIt takes guts to get a small business up and running. West Center is forward thinking to have developed this program that will provide a solid structure for our budding entrepreneurs to thrive.â€
On the coast, Peter and Melissa Lopez, owners of the highly successful restaurant, CafÃ© Beaujolais, understand what it takes to test the limits of expanding the vision of what a business can be, â€œStarting or growing a business, whether big or small, is a challenge. As business owners ourselves, weâ€™re very happy to provide support for this program.â€ Another sponsor, Savings Bank of Mendocino County, has been a bedrock of support for economic development and small business growth in the county for more than a century.
The effects of the global pandemic will continue to resonate through the business community that has already undergone tremendous and unprecedented changes. West Center firmly believes that now is the time for our entrepreneurs to invest in tackling new approaches that will provide future resiliency for their businesses so they can successfully launch and take flight!
How it Works:
Applications open: October 1, 2021
Applications close: Monday October 25, 2021
Finalists Announced: Wednesday, November 24, 2021
Program begins: Monday, January 10, 2022
Program ends:Friday, June 10, 2022
Who Can Apply:
The business is located in Mendocino County
The business has been operational for between one and three years
At this time, the program is not available to cannabis businesses
West Center is extremely grateful to our sponsors whose vision and passion for what they do inspires us every day.
Startup Mendocino 2022 is also supported by the U.S. Small Business Administration and California Governor’s Office of Business & Economic Development.